Fiat’s new 500L minivan has a starting price of 15,550 euros in Europe. Fiat declined to discuss its sales goals for the fourth variant of its 500 minicar range. At the media launch of this new model on July 3, Fiat brand global head Olivier Francois cited the “uncertainty of the European market” for the company’s decision not to give a sales target.
The 500L will be joining the 500 hatchback, Abarth performance version and 500C convertible. It will start selling in Italy and France this September, followed by the rest of Europe this October. It’s expected that the 500L will go on sale in North American, and maybe even in Asia, next year.
Francois said that the installed capacity for the 500L is 600 units each day at Fiat's plant in Kragujevac, Serbia. He also said that production started on July 4 – which marks the 55th anniversary of the original 500 model’s launch on July 4, 1957. Output is expected to increase to 550 units a day by the end of the year. Mauro Pierallini, Fiat Group's head of engineering, said that the 500 L project required the investment of a billion euros.
Pierallini said that 200 million euros are for research & development while another 800 million euros will be used to refurbish the plant. Francois said Fiat wants its 500L to dominate in the small minivan segment and rival the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso and Ford B-Max.
In 2011, the Meriva was Europe's No. 1 small minivan after having sold 127,500 units. Meanwhile, the C3 Picasso achieved sales of 65,100 units while the Renault Modus/Grand Modus has 48,300, according to data from JATO Dynamics market researchers. Ford's B-Max starts selling this September.
Already functional and comfortable, the new Fiat 500L can also be described as “cool.” It continues to showcase that unique look and Italian style while taking into account the brand’s ability to come up with new cars that are pioneering not only in form but in substance as well.
In this case, that substance refers to “space-efficiency”, an element that makes the 500L unique among all the previous Fiat models. That the 500L comes with the iconic quality is clear once you get a look. Specifically, these form the personality and the force of the design though this is not surprising as it formed the basis of the whole project.
Using the brand’s new B-segment platform, this resulted in the 500L being an innovative vehicle that is able to attract a wider and more diversified customer demographic. It also manages to set new standards when it comes to comfort and on-board space. The 500L is therefore a highly functional vehicle that is not only able to “talk” with the driver but has a level of quality that is expected to increase as the years pass.
There are a number of recognizable features in the 500L and one of these is a body design that does not use tight lines or even edges. Rather it utilizes what’s known as “gentler” shapes. These are the non-aggressive and still objects that help transmit that charm and predicts a more balanced set-up as it relates to the environment and urban landscape.
According to the Fiat, the 500L is a new interpretation of the brand’s Simply More principle and then applied on the Multispace concept. This was the same treatment done on the 600 Multipla which became the prototype of the compact people carrier. With the new 500L, Fiat is able to change the compact car segment in an emotional manner for the present-day family. It does so by using the stylistic details of the 500 in exceptional forms.